15 Sep 2010

Challenge defeated by Japanese PM

6:03 am on 15 September 2010

Prime Minister Naoto Kan of Japan has survived a challenge to his leadership after only three months in office.

Mr Kan was re-elected as head of the governing Democratic Party, beating veteran politician Ichiro Ozawa - by 721 points to 491.

The BBC reports the margin was wider than expected. Analysts had expected a tight contest.

The result means that Japan will be spared a sixth leadership change in four years.

Mr Kan, who took office in June, has said he wants to rein in spending and curb Japan's massive public debt.

After the vote, he appealed for party unity.

"Japan is currently in serious difficulty. We must rebuild Japan to make a healthy Japan again in order to hand it to the next generation, and I will stake my life to do the job and gain support from the people," he said.